7 Common RV Mistakes to Avoid & What to Do Instead

I’m Tom from Enjoy The Journey Life. I’ve been fully RVing for five years now, and I’ve made some big mistakes. I’m embarrassed about them, but in the interest of sharing, so you can learn from me and not repeat them, I’m going to tell you my biggest RV mistakes, my doozies. These are the RV mistakes to avoid.

RV mistakes to avoid

1. Packing when distracted

I brought the bedroom slide in when the floor was not clear inside. We have this Himalayan salt lamp. I brought the slide on top of it and messed up the slide. Now, it will need repairs. It’s a reminder not to be in a hurry when you are packing up.

You need a checklist, and you don’t want to be in a bad mood. That’s when mistakes can happen. We want you guys to be safe out of there on the road. If you have something that is bothering you a lot, or an argument, make sure you cool off before you get on the road.

Beginner RV mistakes

2. Driving on the wrong roads

Another mistake is going down the wrong road and not realizing it. On one particular occasion, I went down the tenters-only route by mistake, I had to get on the top of the RV to clear the low-hanging branches.

This slowed us down. You can never be in a hurry when you are RVing.

In another situation, I wasn’t able to cut the branches and had to back up and go a different way. The branches were a little too close for comfort and would definitely touch something on the roof. 

This is a good reminder to know the height of your RV. Ours is under 13.5 feet. A bridge needs to have at least 13.5 feet of clearance for us to go underneath it. The Allstays app has a section on their map where they list the low-clearance bridges. 

Common RV mistakes

3. Making hard turns

This was one of my worst and scariest mistakes. We were boondocking in my Uncle Pete's place of business in Minnesota, and it was time to leave.

I was driving close to his office trailer and I decided to swing a little too close. The truck cleared it just fine, but the RV did not. You can see what happened. It was dumb. I clipped the side of my uncle’s office trailer. 

The issue is that a fifth-wheel trailer is so long that when you make a hard turn, the rear end actually swings out farther than where you were.

I have to be careful how close I get to gas pumps, and when I turn onto a road, not to make the turn too tight. I like to plan for three to four feet of clearance.

When I pull out of a gas station, I like to make sure that Cheri is keeping an eye on my rear end, and making sure I don’t hit anything. If she’s not behind me, I will stop and get out and check. It takes a little time, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Spare tire under an RV

4. Leaving your spare time in place

One of my first RV mistakes happened because my spare tire sits really low underneath the trailer. The issue comes up when you go on curves with a lot of incline or decline.

In my first year of RV ownership, I pulled out of a gas station. As I was going down the road, someone pulled up alongside me, started waving at me, and pointed at the back. I was like uh-oh, that’s going to be an issue.

I looked underneath and there was that spare tire dangling near the road. It still was attached, but the whole assembly broke. A lot of RVs have these low-hanging tires. If you have a low-hanging tire, you’d better fix that tire and stick it in the back of your truck

Wheel chock for an RV

5. Not using a checklist

This may not seem like a big mistake but it could potentially have been. I was distracted leaving the campsite and I ran over the chock.

It is not expensive and it’s replaceable, but it could really damage a tire. That’s a concern. Remember to remove your chocks and not run over them.

6. Leave the factory without checking the repairs

Another RV mistake I made was when the RV went to the factory for service we didn’t personally go there and make sure all the promised repairs were done. Several things were not done: the decal they said they would fix, the rear jack, and a slide that didn’t work right.

We highly recommend, whoever is servicing your RV, whether it’s the factory or the dealer, inspect every part of it before you take the RV back. 

Letting a transport driver handle your RV

7. Letting a transport driver handle your RV

Related to the factory repair, another big mistake was not taking it there ourselves. They hire transport drivers to take your RV there, and our transport driver ripped the awning. He must have hit a tree branch on the way. 

Coming back, we were excited to get our RV. It was at the factory for nearly two months. We couldn’t wait to get back on the road. I checked the RV and the tire pressures were unusually high.

They are E-Class rated and should be at 80 pounds max, but when I got the RV back, they varied between 92 and 96, which is really bizarre. 

I want to read this Facebook comment from someone who used to work at an RV dealership. He says that the transport people that haul the RV from you to the factory do so at 70 miles per hour.

They will run over debris, potholes, etc… their goal is to get the RV from point A to point B in the least amount of time possible while pretending to be transporting legally, and if the trailer gets to its destination in one piece, then the transport driver did a good job. 

So, I highly recommend, if your RV is going back to the factory that you take it there yourself. Then, you will also already be there to inspect the repairs.

RV mistakes to avoid

It’s important to know how to avoid common RV mistakes. What mistakes have you made on the road? Let us know in the comments.

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